Su completed the marathon last year in 3:35.55, which was good enough to requalify her for this year’s race and also allowed her to cross the finish line early enough to get to her family before things started going south. She said that if she’d finished five minutes later, they may have gotten stuck, and that wasn’t the only close call.
“My friend’s daughter was 14, and she went to take my 5-year-old to go to the bathroom, and they would have been right there if a security officer hadn’t told them they couldn’t go through,” Su said. “So they turned around and weren’t there when the bombs went off.”
Many of Su’s friends weren’t as fortunate. Several were staying at the Lenox Hotel across from where one of the bombs went off, and Su said that after the hotel went into lockdown, they saw horrible things out the window.
“They were stuck inside looking at total chaos outside,” Su said. “They saw a man run by carrying someone whose leg had been blown off. Listening to those stories was really traumatizing.”
In the weeks that followed, Su said she experienced a range of emotions regarding the 2014 marathon, but eventually she came around and decided she wanted to run this year’s race more than ever, and she eventually posted a statement online that effectively served as a call to arms for her friends in the running community.
“We will always mourn the loss from that day, but for those of you who are runners, I encourage you to not let this break you,” Su wrote. “We need to stand up and make a statement against hatred.”
By and large, Su said that most people she has talked to have reached that same place, and because of that she expects this year’s race to be bigger and more powerful than any before it.
Runners will still run, and families will still celebrate, and when Su finishes the race, she said she’s looking forward to seeing her four children — Christian, 8, Lilian, 6, Nathanial, 3, and William, the marathon baby, who was born on Nov. 26 and is now a happy and healthy 4-month old.